Well, folks, March is roaring in like an angry lion.
Until the wind velocity subsides toward the weekend, I do not recommend going out on your own. Certainly not on the Atlantic side. Nothing puts a damper on a day of fishing like having to call the Coast Guard for assistance.
Wind and weather tools
One of the many tools we use to help gauge the where and what of our fishing charters on a daily basis is windfinder.com. This site provides an eight-day forecast of wind speed and direction, along with other information. We’ve found it to be pretty reliable and recommend you use it to plan your trips.
For the most up to date information, tune in to local Comcast channel 76 or channel 2 on your VHF radio. NOAA provides current wind conditions at the lighthouses on the reef hourly.
Plenty of options bayside
There are, however, plenty of back country and back water areas that are relatively protected from the wind and offer excellent fishing. Choose one of the many experienced, professional charter operations to take you for a day of catching on the bayside of the islands.
It may not be precisely the species you came to the Keys to catch, but it beats not going fishing at all. There are plenty of good size mangrove snapper and Spanish mackerel to fill your dinner plate along with feisty sharks to wrangle. There’s also redfish, snook and permit to keep you entertained.
Shuffle the deck
On the positive side – and I’ve been saying this for awhile – we really need a bit of wind to shuffle the deck. These high winds create a stirring effect, which brings cooler waters to the surface, replacing the abnormally warm waters we’ve had and leveling the temperatures to a more seasonal range.
They also oxygenate the water, which invigorates the fish much like an energy drink does for people. They’ll be more aggressive and more likely to bite. So, when the wind calms down, fishing in all venues should be excellent.
Go with a Charter Captain
If you don’t go out with a charter Captain this week, use your time on land to load up for spring fishing. It’s a good opportunity to head to your favorite tackle shop to see all that’s new and improved.
Marathon Boat Yard Marine Center continues its 2012 bi-weekly seminar series on Thursday. Capt. Diego Cordova and Capt. Rich Keating will share some great tips on flats and back country fishing. The program runs from 6:30 to 8:30 pm and they serve free popcorn and soda. For more information, call 305-743-6341.
Capt. Spider’s Casting for Charity takes place Thursday at Salty’s Waterfront Grill, located at the 7 Mile Marina, mile marker 47.5 bayside in Marathon. The fun contest runs from 6 to 8 p.m. and will benefit the Marathon High School Maritime Scholarship Fund.
The week’s catches on the SeaSquared
The SeaSquared fished in the bay and our anglers caught mangrove snapper and Spanish mackerel.
The Lindle group, from Tennessee and Minnesota, caught and released 23 lemon sharks in the five- to six-foot class.